The 2016 Time Capsule
Dear future people,
Most mornings I wake up to ancient photos of the once-pristine Dhaka city from yesteryears. Sometimes photos of our legendary poets, actors, artists or even of the meme-makers surface on a couple of Facebook pages. It's truly wonderful to reminisce those days on Polaroid. It makes me wonder what amazing feat we are leaving for you to explore, when you wake up in the underwater Dhaka by your personalised sentient robots and telekinetically summon holographic mobile devices to see unread texts.
To the people of 2066, I leave this list as a time capsule to quench your thirst for knowledge of the most epoch-making era of history. This is what we are leaving behind:
Rare celebrities: In times as dark as 2016, we had already seen all the Kardashian-Jenner tricks and needed to find solace in our local gems. We let people on Facebook and YouTube with unusual talents gain devoted followers. We gave these "celebrities" our time, attention and chances to go live on Facebook. We have succeeded if there still remains a solitary poster of Hero Alom, or Tuntuni Adrita, or Ali Gster somewhere in the world in 2066.
Selfies: In the olden days, privileged people would have their portraits painted. For days, weeks, or even months that portrait would be touched and retouched for perfection while the subject would sit patiently. However, somehow in the 2010s, the process of getting our self-portrait captured via the revolutionary means of a front camera led people to conclude that our generation consisted of only narcissists. These gazillions of selfies would make up a huge part of the legacy we are leaving through social network.
Makeup tutorials: Remember the time the concept of makeup was revolutionised and almost every other girl was either a makeup artist or aspired to be one? I do because I am living it. This colossal volume of makeup tutorials will probably turn out to be a good source of entertainment while you feel flawless in your perfected synthetic skin during age reversal therapy.
Online shops: I often imagine people from the future trying to decode the delicate, secretive operating ways of the online shopping pages on Facebook. "Apo real pic ta dekhan", "plz inbox 4 price" would be really difficult for you to decipher in the absence of context. What "real" pictures were they exchanging? What was the price? Why was it kept a secret? We never could know and nor will you.
Memes (good and cancerous) and meme-makers: If anyone is reading this in future, you should know I was alive when memes were first created; I have virtually and in reality liked them, shared them, and at times tried to make them too. Memes are truly one of the most gratifying inventions of our generation. Started from funny memes and now (while this article is being written) we are at a dark time when there is a sudden upsurge of cancerous memes like, "Jaader naam S, T, R diye shuru hoy tara ragi holeo monta bhalo hoy <3 - <3". I hope you discover the golden memes of our era, know that there are memes beyond those of a certain Lebanese radio station and Laughing Colours. Future humans, I am counting on your elevated intelligence to discover our proper majestic memes and the lords of the memes who are the real heroes of the 2010s.
Special snowflakes: This had less to do with the melting of polar icecaps, global warming and how we abused nature (which is why you would probably have to find a way to survive underwater, implant artificially generated gills on your body or whatever) and more to do with the fact that we were affected by the apocalyptic Special Snowflake Syndrome. These people believed they were different and unique from everyone else and they made a point of being vocal about their totally opposite stance on any public issue.
Goals: In our time we had taken this concept a bit too far. One might think this was to do with the popular sport, football but I am here to tell you it was not. If a proper scientific survey was ever conducted, it would have been found that in 2016 alone we had used this term far more times to describe the standard of relationship, friendship, husband, wife, life, squad and Millennium Development than for football. This is quite an unlikely heritage to leave behind.
Humans of Wherever: In trying to bond with people from every walk of life, we began interviewing regular individuals around us. We started citywide then narrowed it down to localities, then specific educational institutions. You will develop a deep connection with the "Humans of Farmgate Overpass" and their struggles, joys and sorrows.
Cat and puppy videos: I don't know what the future holds but we were blessed with cuteness and through the internet we pledge to leave a trail of it. For you to rediscover the secrets of evolution during our time, there is a substantial amount of videos of numerous breeds of cats and dogs.
Artparasites: These rare parasites survived for years by inflicting pain upon their hosts. The artworks are a little too crazy for us right now but it is my utmost hope that if the world progresses in the same pace, in 50 years these would all seem pretty normal and even realistic. The line between seriousness and satire got too blurry. We went too far.
Things only 90s' kids will remember: For reasons unknown the last decade of the 20th century was overly romanticised. There is a crazy long list of things meant only to be appreciated or remembered by the 1990s' kids. Why anyone else from any other decade will not remember these we could never know. Hopefully the more evolved future people can bust this mysterious myth.
Screenshots: We are not proud of it but we have invented the concept of screenshots and ever since that privacy has ceased to exist. If a long-lost memory card of our devices ever crosses your path, know that there was more to our lives (but not much more) than selling out one another in group chats and publicly bullying people. Most of our entertainment generated from the sheer absurdity of randomly taken out-of-context screenshots but we request you not to judge us based on that.
Not everything we left behind would be hopeless. Certainly we messed up, got into wars, abused the environment but so did all the previous generations. Statistically we lived in the best of times in terms of conflict resolution. We sincerely hope though, that you will learn from our mistakes and leave a much better time capsule for your successors. After all, as the ancient author CS Lewis wrote, "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
Much love from 2016,